Tatiana Talks

Bizarro Valentine’s Day

My father isn’t afraid of many things. He’s a former Marine who owns a lot of guns and quite frankly, if you don’t know him, looks terrifying in a big, angry sort of way.

One thing that does scare his socks off is my independence. He fears my not needing anyone will lead to my never finding someone and spending my life sad and alone. This manifests itself in many ways, most notably on Valentine’s Day when my father sends me a bouquet of flowers so he doesn’t have to picture me sitting at my desk, fighting back tears because I’m the only girl in the office who doesn’t have a Valentine.

And while I could definitely do with fewer talks on the back porch of my parent’s home about how he would really like me to find someone, I do love getting flowers from him every Valentine’s Day.

I mean, what girl doesn’t love to get flowers?

So, in keeping with tradition, waiting for me on my desk when I arrived at work yesterday morning was a big stupid bouquet of light pink and dark pink Gerbera Daisies.

And I do mean big. My boss audibly gasped when she saw it. I heard people on the floor talking about it. I’m not sure if this is what my father intended, or if the florist got a deal on daisies or if my father insisted on purple daises and the florist couldn’t find them so she (or he) over-compensated by doubling the number of pink daisies, but whatever happened, I have a vase filled with a lot of Gerbera Daisies – which aren’t small flowers to begin with.

But I’m not just telling you this to brag – I swear.

I was sitting there, in my pink dress (because a single girl who wears black on V-Day is just asking for sideways glances and tongue clicks of pity) when one of my married co-workers approached.

“Look at you with your bouquets (I only had one – I swear) and your pretty pink dress. I bet this is just your favorite holiday.”

I can say with certainty no one has ever accused me of that before.

A Valentine's Day Primer - Chapter Two

As a commenter and a couple of my guy friends pointed out -- there are a lot of women out there that hate Valentine’s Day and insist they want nothing to do with it.
These women fall into one of two categories. She has either a) been burned by this bullshit holiday in the past and is pissed she ever put any stock into the whole candy hearts and flowers industry. She is still smoldering and doesn’t want to get hurt again. Or, b) she's testing you.

Fortunately, you don’t need to know which type you are dealing with to know what to do.

Similar to the commenter’s suggestion, your answer is to plan a low key, but romantic, evening. Go by her place, or invite her to yours, with some fun junk food or take-out, along with something red and/or heart shaped and a romantic comedy. Put in the movie, get on the couch, and make fun of just how truly terrible  and unrealistic the movie is. When you can no longer tolerate Kate Hudson, start making out and then move the party to the bedroom (or not -- go crazy and do it on the couch). 

Now, if your girlfriend is in the first group, she may wake up on February 15 with a renewed sense of hope and wonder in the world. You could very well be her hero, having restored her faith in all things lovely and romantic and Hallmark. At the very least, next year when her girlfriends are all complaining about what a waste of a day February 14 is, she may shrug and say, "I don't know. It's not so bad."

However, if you girlfriend is in the second group -- well, she is going to be less than happy with this evening. Though she said she wants nothing, she’s expecting reservations at the most exclusive restaurant in town, two dozen roses and a little (or not so little) blue box. Your first clue you are dealing with a woman from the second group will be when she answers her door in a brand new, strapless mini dress in full make up and an up-do. 

Unfortunately, your chance of getting any -- and really isn’t that the whole point of this holiday for you, men -- has just dropped to near zero. Even if you anticipated this may be the case and got the table in Bistro Romano’s wine cellar, she still won’t be happy. Instead of being happy and rewarding you (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) later, she will yell at you and throw your roses in your face, calling you contrived and screaming that you never listen to her. Why? Because you are with a girl who tests her boyfriend. She is not looking for a winner. She is looking for drama. And, even as terrible as some of the acting is in those rom coms, they just don't provide enough drama for her. Nor does being happy.

On the plus side, you now know your girlfriend is chicken-killer crazy and so you can run as fast as you can and hey, maybe if you head to a bar, there is still a chance you will get some. Of course, if you are one of those guys who actually enjoys being yelled at and never right -- then Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

Valentine's Day: A Primer for Men

At the Wawa (for those of you not from the Philadelphia area: this is a convenience store with the absolute best coffee ever. Also, back when they were still in the city they were a perfect place to pick up a hoagie after a late night of drinking – not that I know anything about that.) this morning I was reminded (by the display of candy hearts) that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.
Now last year, following this most glorious day, I overheard a co-worker telling another co-worker about how excited his girlfriend was when she opened her Valentine’s Day gift. In his words, her excited was comparable to someone handing him keys to a vintage Camaro.
And what was this gift that inspired such excitement, you ask.
Yoga pants.
Poor boy. He saw what his girlfriend looks like when she’s faking it and didn’t even know it.

I pledged right then and there I wouldn’t let another woman fake excitement over yoga pants again. So, men, this year, I’m here to help.
First: your girlfriend does not want yoga pants for Valentine’s Day. I don’t care how into yoga she is – trust me, yoga pants, a yoga top, hell, even a new yoga mat is not what she is hoping to unwrap on V-Day.
Now, a coupon for couple’s yoga – that’s a possibility.
So, you ask, how do you know if your girlfriend or wife or fiancé wants couples yoga or something else entirely? Well, because she’s going to tell you. In fact, she may have already.
Back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and I was a short-haired feminist college student living in Fairmount and working at a café, I got one of the greatest presents from boss: an amber necklace that never fails to receive a ton of compliments when I wear it – and you know how much I love compliments.
You might not expect one’s boss to hit one out of the park like that. How’d he do it? Simple. He took me shopping.
No. Not for the necklace. For a present for his sister. And while at the store, as he pretended to browse for his sister, he paid more attention to what caught my eye. I actually tried the necklace on and fell in love with it and while I figured out how long I would have to live on mustard packets and Ramen noodles to afford the necklace and determined it wasn’t worth it, he motioned to the sales clerk to wrap it up.
Do you have a sister you could pretend shop for? What about a mother?
No. I’m sorry. But there is still hope. Start paying attention when you two are watching TV. Take note when she says, don't you think So-and-So's earrings are gorgeous? Or when you two are out with another couple and she asks your best friend's new girlfriend what perfume she is wearing. When she is complaining about how old and tired she feels, she doesn't want you to tell her how great she looks; well she does, but she's also hinting that a gift certificate to the spa might be nice.
Believe me, she is dropping hints all over the place because she doesn’t want you to fail any more than she wants that juicer you got her last year.

Valentine’s Day Wrap-Up

For more than 20 years I have hated Valentine’s Day. I say more than 20 even though I am more than 30 because I am pretty sure I loved Valentine’s Day as a kid. Then again, as a kid you don’t worry that the candy is going to make you fat and you were pretty much guaranteed a valentine from everyone in your class.

Four years ago, I had a boyfriend, and still managed to mess up Valentine’s Day. Three years ago, I was in the Poconos, with Bridie and her boyfriend, texting the Republican. Two years ago I promised not to hate the day, but still ended up drunk and sad, and then last year, well, last year was a blur, so I’m guessing more alcohol was involved.

This year was different. As the day grew closer I noticed my animosity didn’t grow; my mood didn't sour. I didn’t scoff at any of the thousands (yes thousands) of emails about Valentine’s Day specials, I didn’t fret about being out in NYC the Saturday night before, heck, I even wore red on the big day. I didn’t want to jinx my attitude, but I did begin to wonder if accepting that I was going to be single for life also released Valentine’s Day’s hold over me.

Still, part of me was convinced the lovefest couldn’t last. Part of me was waiting for the tears and self-hatred that always comes on February 14.

Now, earlier this year (or maybe it was last year) I made Rifka (a friend I met while trying to find a new best single girlfriend) sign-up with me for a Valentine’s Day Single’s Run. If anything was going to shake my bliss, surely being in a room of sweaty singles on the most romantic day of the year would do it.

Except, it didn’t. I enjoyed the run. Laughed with some strangers. Rifka and I got hit on by a couple of guys who bought us a round of drinks, it was actually a lot of fun.

And as I stood there, overhearing other conversations, women complaining about being alone and sad and just wanting somebody – anybody – I felt so relieved. I wasn’t angry or sad that I didn’t have a boyfriend. I wasn’t questioning my worth because this guy was hitting on me and not someone I perceived as better that was hitting on someone else across the bar. I didn’t feel rejected, later, when that guy started hitting on someone else, and I didn’t feel like a loser when Rifka and I cut out to grab burritos on our way home.

Instead, I felt incredibly lucky.

It was a Valentine’s Day miracle.